A few weeks ago one of my friends suggested that we go to Skye for a few days and as usual I just said ‘ok’.
The planning went as far as booking flights & accommodation which for someone who loves being organized was surprisingly relaxed.
This was my first visit to Scotland and I was in good spirits when we boarded the plane. A Scottish man in his mid thirties sat by the window starting chatting with us.
One of my friends asked if there was anything to do in Inverness. ‘There’s nothing there, the only thing to do is leave’, he said in a thick accent at which point he started to chuckle to himself. Defensively we explained that we were going from Inverness to Skye. He nodded his approval then laughed uncontrollably when he heard that I was planning on driving from Inverness to Skye. ‘How long do you think it’ll take?’ he asked.
I did check google maps the day before so it said about 2 & 1/2 hours. This he found hysterical. Then he shook his head and rubbed his face and told me multiply my driving time by 2 and to prepare myself for the rain and for wild roads!
Feeling a bit tense I now had visions that I would be attempting a similar journey to that of Charlez Theron’s mad Max journey but in a rental car!
This I soon learnt was just the Scottish sense of humor.
I never quite understood why people had always talked about how they were drawn to the open road, having not experienced it myself but the journey past Loch Ness to Plockton was epic! Clear roads that rolled on for miles, with the stunning highlands as their backdrop. It was not often that we saw passing traffic, but when we did the driver more often than not raised their hand in friendly acknowledgement. Having spent many hours stuck in traffic in London this was an alien concept as I’m more used to frustrated drivers raising their hands in a less friendly way.
The sun was shining, there were a few showers but the weather was fair in the main whilst we were there.
After I finally worked out how the start the car, several stops for photos and over 4 hours later we reached our cottage in Plockton.
After a lot of time and expense on camera equipment I have been compared to Goldie Locks from the 3 bears story, why? Well my equipment has to be just right, not to big, not too small, not too heavy or too complicated – it has to be just the right combination for me.
You really start to appreciate your camera gear when you have to hike across vast expanses of wild terrain. If your camera or bag is too bulky it can be heavy and cumbersome and if you are unable to access you gear with ease it becomes a military exercise to get access to you camera let alone take a photo.
That’s one of the main reasons I switched to a mirrorless camera from my hefty DSLR. It’s more discreet, easily transportable and gives me all the control that I want when shooting.
Up until recently I was only using my iPhone for Instagram, and I follow and admire many Instagramers who only use their phones. These are the people who are in part responsible for raising the bar in mobile photography. These are also the people who taught me how invaluable a external phone charger can be.
Taking a good photo is not about the camera as much as the person behind it..
We travelled to too many places to note them all, but the hi lights of our journey would have to be Loch Ness, Fairy pools, Kilted Rock and the climb to the top of Neist Point with my Billingham bag slung over my shoulder with my precious Olympus OMD tucked up inside safe from the elements.
I’m not usually one to scale rocks to the top of anything or venture out onto cliff edges, but the fresh highland air and sense of adventure led me to find myself temporarily stranded on a steep grassy hill at Fairy Glen only to be guided down, by a non plussed ram who taught me a valuable lesson that day, ‘there’s always another way’.
For photos from our journey see #escapetoskye on Instagram. With thanks to my travel companions, @t3j1, @juicylucyham and @kr1th1ka and @stitchandstory for my lovely bobble hat and to @billinghambags & @olympus for reliable equipment.